I had the privilege of attending mews1945
's memorial service yesterday in Westminster, MD. I wanted to make a bright floral arrangement that was just like Julia to honor her and because her daughter Amanda deserves bright flowers while coping with the loss of her bright mom, so I bought a fuckton of flowers on Friday and, surprisingly, got most of the flowers into the arrangement. Here it is in the back of my car:
The service was the most heart-filling memorial service I've been to. In front of the room, under a stained glass window were several large beautiful arrangements--everyone was on the same page that boring funeral white was not for Julia. There were candles, a lovely portrait of Julia from sometime in the last several years with her head in one hand with an impish smile and discerning stare. There were a couple of photoboards of snapshots of Julia throughout her life. Among them was the group shot of all of us with her at the last moot that we took on her lawn, and the little round Sideshow pin of Frodo and Sam watching the oliphant. Our long-lost dear aprilkat
and I hugged and I met the sweet carolecummings
for the first time and we hugged. And I accomplished my main goal of going and hugging Amanda tight and telling her one was from baranduin
and how beloved her mom was by all of us online, and Amanda knew that from all our comments that she so appreciated. I also saw and hugged Julia's grandson Matthew and DIL Ashley, who was briefly on LJ.
Mews's "little" brother Bob is a pastor and so he led the service. The love for her that infused his speech was very moving, and I learned much about Julia I never knew. First of all, "all who knew her" called her "Julie" and "Judy". Growing up, she was the storyteller to her siblings, and told stories of vampires and demons--she was always the accomplished storyteller. He admired her ability to draw and paint--she was a fine artist--I never knew that. I would love to see some of her work. And she had a beautiful singing voice that brought people to tears in a performance of a song when she was young--aprilkat, carole--do you remember what song he said it was? She and her sisters sang together in a group they named "The Denims". Hearing all these things made me smile so much.
He would be the tag-along little brother that she would take to the fair when she was courting her husband Jim. And later in life, she talked him through a very dark time and gave him the strength to go on. And when he visited her in the last weeks, he asked her "So how was it?" and she knew immediately what he meant, as was their way, and she said, "I've had a wonderful, wonderful life." She could have taken meds that would have prolonged her life, but that would have compromised her quality of life and chose to forego them and was at peace with her decision and brought him around to be at peace with it, too.
After he finished speaking they played a wordless rendition of the tune to John Lennon's Julia
--I had just earwormed that song earlier that morning with her in mind. I got to hug mews's lovely sister Alice, who looks a lot like her and she knew about us as her online writing friends and reiterated how Julia always told them stories as kids. I wish there was more time for me to have taken in all the shots on the photoboards. She was a dark-haired vixen during her wild youth, and there were a number of pics of her laughing with her sisters and with Amanda and the grandkids.(-:
Not wanting to intrude on the family lunch we were invited to, aprilkat
and I got lunch after the service at Bob Evans, where she and Julia went when she visited, and we had a really wonderful time catching up--I was lucky to get to spend the time with her. She last took Mews there in July, probably not much before the last possible time Mews could get out. And Mews told her about what a great time she had at the moot the end of May with those of us who could come. I'm so glad we had that time with her. I wish you all could have been there and at the memorial service yesterday. But I see you've had a heart-warming wake in this community for her. How like her to bring us all together and leave us so much love. *hugs all round*